BY Sandra Anne
I’m writing this from a bar stool where I perch alone. Solo. Wrapped in my own thoughts. Does that make your palms sweat? Speed your heart? Or are you the kind who relishes in your independence? One who loves the adventure of the unknown. A person who is secure enough to have a date for one. That would be me. I eschew all labels of loner and loser and choose to spend time with little old me.
I never used to be this free. I used to fear going anywhere unaccompanied – you would always find me with a friend or two in tow. When alone, I was scared of my own thoughts weaving wickedly together and fooling me into anxiety. I was awkward and introverted, and trembled if a stranger spoke to me. Conversation? What’s that? My tongue was tied in knots.
The time the change happened can be pinpointed exactly. It was the moment I became confident enough not to care what anyone else thought. All it took was a trip to Europe. You know the kind. Coming of age backpacker roaming around the continent via train, discovering what it means to really live. It was a trip I was supposed to take with another, but one I suddenly found myself on alone. Once I realized that I had to eat, I ventured out to the nearest bar or restaurant in whichever city I was in. Book, notepad or postcards in hand as my date, I would find a seat to revel in what great sights I had seen that day. I met other solo travelers and locals, all welcoming and eager to talk. I was instantly given permission to be alone, a state that frequently never lasted long – being alone, that is.
When I returned home and got into the spider web of the corporate world, I now relished my lunch hours as a time to be with me. Time to read, time to write, time to think. In the summer months I found a sunny perch to recharge from the office power drain. Colleagues and friends at the office often saw me and never understood my solitude. “You don’t have to sit by yourself! I’ll have lunch with you next time!” they cried, as though it were a terrible deed to be alone. Were they secretly jealous of my independence? Or legitimately uncomfortable riding solo? I wanted to impart my new found wisdom on them and make them see that I had found greatness being on my own.
Now that I work for myself, I often take my work to a bar stool. I sit there pondering my thoughts and gaining stimulation from my surroundings for words to play together in my notebook. This is where my muse visits me. She whispers sweet nothings in my ear when no one else is around.
The option to socialize is always there. I can either let the world in or I can close the doors to it. When I open my barricade, I meet the most fascinating people. I have met lovers, friends, business associates, and mentors while being alone. They are individuals I would never have the great pleasure of knowing if I had been surrounded by my peers.
Not only have I met a slew of fantastical people, but I’ve met me. I’ve become closer with myself and I actually like her. Loving yourself should come before loving anyone else. Once you’ve got that down, others will love you too. It’s infectious. Confidence and independence are two of the sexiest and most compelling characteristics out there. They produce a layer of mystery and intrigue.
Don’t get me wrong, a night out with friends is energizing and almost nothing beats a cheek aching laugh with your girls. Never give this up, but do add some solo adventure to your schedule. I challenge you to sit on a bar stool on a date for one… and see what happens.
Featured image by Melodramababs on Flickr